UFC 255: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Alex Perez - MMA Betting & DFS Preview

Two title bouts (Figueiredo vs. Perez & Shevchenko vs. Maia) headline this UFC 255 main card.
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UFC 255: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Alex Perez

#UFC255 MMA Betting Preview

Back to the UFC Apex we go this weekend with a pretty solid card where the main and co-main features both men’s and women’s flyweight champions set to defend their titles. Headlining UFC 255 will be the men’s flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo, who’s set to defend his newly obtained title against a very game Alex Perez, who steps in to replace the injured Cody Garbrandt. The co-main event brings us fan-favorite women's flyweight champion Valentina "Bullet" Shevchenko, defending against challenger Jennifer Maia.

The entire is slated for 12 matches, with the early prelims slated to kickoff at 6:30 p.m. ET live on Fight Pass, followed by the prelims at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and ESPN+, and the main card capped off at 10:00 p.m. ET live on Pay Per View. I wouldn’t miss this card.

As we do every week, we like to predict a winner for each fight, find some spots that look wager-worthy, and set a DraftKings lineup or two. With that said, let's dive in.

UFC 255 Details

  • DATE: SATURDAY 11/21/2020
  • BROADCAST: Pay Per View – Prelims: ESPN
  • VENUE: UFC APEX
  • LOCATION: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • # of MATCHES: 12

UFC PREDICTION BET SUMMARY

  • Fight card predictions overall: 349-180-10 (66%)

  • Targeted matchups (wagers): 182-75-5 (71%)

MAIN CARD

FLYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT 125LBS

(C) DEIVESON FIGUEIREDO 19-1 VS #4 ALEX PEREZ 24-5

WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT 125LBS

(C) VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO 19-3 VS #3 JENNIFER MAIA 18-6-1

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT 170LBS

MIKE PERRY 14-6 VS TIM MEANS 30-12-1

WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT BOUT 125LBS

#2 KATLYN CHOOKAGIAN 14-4 VS #4 CYNTHIA CALVILLO 9-1-1

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT 205LBS

#14 MAURICIO RUA 27-11-1 VS #15 PAUL CRAIG 13-4-1

PRELIMS

FLYWEIGHT BOUT 125LBS

#2 BRANDON MORENO 17-5-1 VS #6 BRANDON ROYVAL 12-4

MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT 185LBS

JOAQUIN BUCKLEY 11-3 VS JORDAN WRIGHT 11-0

WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT BOUT 125LBS

#15 ANTONINA SHEVCHENKO 8-2 VS ARIANE LIPSKI 13-5

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT 170LBS

DANIEL RODRIGUEZ 13-1 VS NICOLAS DALBY 18-4-1

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT 170LBS

ALAN JOUBAN 16-7 VS JARED GOODEN 17-4

MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT 185LBS

KYLE DAUKAUS 9-1 VS DUSTIN STOLTZFUS 13-1

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT 170LBS

LOUIS COSCE 7-0 VS SASHA PALATNIKOV 5-2

MAIN EVENT PREDICTION

(C) DEIVESON FIGUEIREDO 19-1 VS #4 ALEX PEREZ 24-5

Deiveson Figueiredo is right back at it and set to defend his newly won flyweight strap just a short four months after putting the kibosh to any controversy about if he could defeat Joe Benavidez for the previously vacant title. In July, Figueiredo left no debate in his quick turnaround rematch against Joe B, scoring a very dominate first-round win via rear-naked choke, just a few months after TKOing him after a debatable clash of the head, which quickly ended in the current champ's favor inside of two rounds. Figueiredo was slated to face former bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt, though five weeks out, Garbrandt had to withdraw with a torn bicep. I’d say it pays to be ready, and Alex Perez was all that and some. Getting the call to step in to replace Garbrandt, Alex Perez, who was slated to fight on the undercard, quickly accepted the opportunity. He comes in with a full training camp to boot. Perez has to motivate many up-and-coming fighters out there. This opportunity comes just a handful of fights after Alex Perez won his UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series. So, this begs the question. Is this too much of a step up for Perez?

Figueiredo has been a machine. The champ is 19—1 and has won via finish on 16 of those occasions. His one loss came against a man that Alex Perez holds a win over. That man being Jussier Formiga. Figueiredo in that loss was overzealous and looking to land that kill-shot right out of the shot. His massive power for the weight class Formiga was well aware of, and he was able to avoid and pounced for a successful takedown landing a mount. Figueiredo was able to get the fight back to the feet even while in such control by Formiga, which displayed and validated some serious muscle from Figueiredo. Round two was some of the same, and Figueiredo went for another big shot, which Formiga, in turn, capitalized on another takedown. From guard, Formiga took some nasty elbows from Figueiredo, opening him up. The final round saw some more back and forth, with Figueiredo the busier of the two, though Formiga did just enough by the fight's end to get the nod. If the fight was scheduled for five rounds, I could see Figueiredo turning the tide and possibly getting a finish.

Alex Perez’s fight against Formiga was much different. Perez quickly went to work with leg kicks and visibly hurt Formiga, taking his legs from under him while knocking him down twice. Keith Peterson eventually had seen enough and waved off the fight, scoring it a victory for Perez via a rare TKO via kicks to the leg.

I think we learn something from both these matches and the two combatants going at it Saturday night. A big tell is that these two are going to come out and look for a very quick finish. Figueiredo and his attempts to sleep Formiga out of the shoots in each round, unfortunately, backfired that night. Still, lessons learned and implementing those takeaways have led to four straight wins, with the last three via finish. For Perez, not only did we see this guy again go in to hurt his opponent as quickly as possible, but bigger than that, we saw his ability to execute a game plan neutralizing his opponent’s strength. In that case, Formiga’s ability to take you down and control time.

So who wins?

Coming into his one, you’d have to think Perez will attempt to get this one down just as Formiga did against Figueiredo. It is well known that the champ has low volume output, but when he throws, it's very accurate and powerful. Perez doesn’t want any of that smoke. The angle that just may come into play here is if and when this fight gets to the mat, Figueiredo just may find himself a submission opportunity. The champ, a BJJ black belt, has seven submission victories under his belt, with two of his last three wins coming in the same fashion, against much better submission grapplers than Perez (Joe Benavidez, Tim Elliott). 

Perez has five defeats, and three of them are via submission as well. Figueiredo going for a submission at some point Saturday is almost a lock. If you look at his nine career UFC fights, he’s attempted a submission in seven of those fights at least once, with three of those fights attempting four or more. This equates to about three submission attempts on average every fifteen minutes of fight time. (Roughly once per round on average.) Figueiredo will have five rounds to continue this trend on Saturday. Speaking of trends, look at what Figueiredo did against Joe B. in both fights. He dropped him with a strike, then went in to lock in a submission. In their last fight, he did it twice, finding success on the second occasion. With Perez avoiding the shots, and taking this one down, and/or the champ connecting and following his opponent to the mat for a finish as we’ve seen time after time, I like the chances of it happening again here. It will be interesting to see how Perez does here in this spot. The previous biggest name he faced was Joe Benavidez, where strikes finished him in less than a round. Not saying it was the differentiator, but the fight mentality going in against some of these big names and big spots have to be there. These are going to be some bright lights for Alex Perez in his first UFC main event on Saturday night, and Deiveson Figueiredo sure isn't going to be giving him any breaks.

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MAIN CARD WAGERS

FLYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT 125LBS: (C) DEIVESON FIGUEIREDO 19-1 VS #4 ALEX PEREZ 24-5

  • After 20 fights, Figueiredo has never been finished.
  • Perez is a vet of the DWCS, where he earned his contract in 2017. Seven fights later, he’s fighting for the title.
  • Four of Perez's last five fights have ended in the first round.
  • Figueiredo’s last three fights have ended in under 1.5 rounds.
  • BET: Click here to continue

WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT 125LBS: (C) VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO 19-3 VS #3 JENNIFER MAIA 18-6-1

  • Shevchenko has yet to lose at 125lbs. (5-0)
  • After 25 fights, this will be Maia's first fight against a southpaw.
  • Maia has won four of six fights as an underdog.
  • Shevchenko has the advantage in all striking and grappling statistics except strikes landed.
  • Maia has never been more than a +180 underdog. For this fight, she is ranging from +725 to +1000.
  • Maia has gone to a decision in eight of her last nine matches.
  • In the last 10 years, Shevchenko has only lost to one fighter. Twice to Amanda Nunes.
  • In roughly 7,500 fights since TUF 1, there have only been about 50 fighters favored -1000 or higher.
  • BET: Click here to continue

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT 170LBS: MIKE PERRY 14-6 VS TIM MEANS 30-12-1

  • Means is taking the fight on just 19 days' notice.
  • Perry is just 3-5 in his last eight matches
  • After starting 7-0, since signing with the UFC, Perry has gone 7-6.
  • Means is just 4-5 in his last nine fights.
  • Perry is seven years younger.
  • Means has taken more head strikes (457) than any other fighter on the card.
  • BET: Click here to continue

WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT BOUT 125LBS: #2 KATLYN CHOOKAGIAN 14-4 VS #4 CYNTHIA CALVILLO 9-1-1

  • Calvillo has never been finished.
  • Calvillo has the advantage in all striking and grappling statistics.
  • On a quick turnaround, Chookagian fought just over a month ago.
  • Chookagian has a significant height and reach advantage.
  • Chookagian has below average takedown defense, while Calvillo has landed one to four takedowns in seven of her eight UFC fights.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT 205LBS: #14 MAURICIO RUA 27-11-1 VS #15 PAUL CRAIG 13-4-1

  • Rua is just 1-6 in his last seven fights in the U.S.
  • Twelve of Craig's 13 wins have come by way of submission, including his last 9.
  • Craig has gone to a decision just once in 18 fights. It was his first fight against Rua, which went to a draw.
  • Craig has landed a takedown in all, but one of his UFC wins.
  • Craig gets knocked down .54 times per 15 minutes, while Rua has power and achieves .67 knockdowns per 15 min.
  • In their first fight one year ago, Rua was a -265 favorite. In this fight, he’s a +150 underdog.
  • BET: Click here to continue

PRELIMS WAGERS

FLYWEIGHT BOUT 125LBS: #2 BRANDON MORENO 17-5-1 VS #6 BRANDON ROYVAL 12-4

  • The winner potentially gets the next crack at the title.
  • Neither has ever been finished.
  • While Moreno has gone to a decision in five of his last six fights, Royval has won his last four fights via submission.
  • Royval has won three of four fights where he was priced as the underdog.
  • Moreno has a low striking output coupled with low accuracy.
  • BET: Click here to continue

MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT 185LBS: JOAQUIN BUCKLEY 11-3 VS JORDAN WRIGHT 11-0

  • Wright has never gone to a decision. All wins via finish.
  • Win or lose, Buckley’s last four fights have finished via KO.
  • Buckley via highlight (of the year?) spinning back kick KO just a month ago.
  • Both fighters tend to absorb a high rate of strikes with limited defense.
  • Though the record shows undefeated, Wright was KO'd in 40 seconds against Fluffy Hernandez on the DWCS 2 years ago. NSAC overturned the fight after a failed drug test.
  • BET: Click here to continue

WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT BOUT 125LBS: #15 ANTONINA SHEVCHENKO 8-2 VS ARIANE LIPSKI 13-5

  • Shevchenko has never been finished.
  • Lipski has gone to a decision in four of her last five fights. The one that didn’t was her most recent fight, where she won via kneebar in just over a minute.
  • Shevchenko has the statistical advantage in all metrics across both striking and grappling.
  • Lipski is 0-2 when fighting in the U.S.
  • BET: Click here to continue

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT 170LBS: DANIEL RODRIGUEZ 13-1 VS NICOLAS DALBY 18-4-1

  • Rodriguez is riding a nine-fight win streak. His only loss was via a split decision in 2017.
  • Rodriguez lands over five more strikes per minute statistically compared to Dalby.
  • Dalby is just 2-4-1 against southpaws and 2-3-1 in the UFC.
  • After 23 fights, this will be Dalby’s first fight in the U.S.
  • Dalby has been knocked down in four of his last five fights.

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT 170LBS: ALAN JOUBAN 16-7 VS JARED GOODEN 17-4

  • Jouban has been out for over 19 months and is coming off ACL surgery.
  • Gooden is making his UFC debut and has won 3 straight, all via finish.
  • Jouban is just 1-3 in his last four fights.
  • At 38 years of age, Jouban is 11 years older than Gooden.

MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT 185LBS: KYLE DAUKAUS 9-1 VS DUSTIN STOLTZFUS 13-1

  • Both fighters have just one loss, and neither has ever been finished.
  • Stoltzfus is making his UFC debut, riding a 10-fight win streak.
  • Stoltzfus is a quick starter and has five finishes in the first round.
  • Daukaus should have the advantage on the feet

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT 170LBS: LOUIS COSCE 7-0 VS SASHA PALATNIKOV 5-2

  • Both fighters are making their UFC debut.
  • Cosce has never been to a decision.
  • Cosce has never been to the 2nd round, and his avg fight time is less than 2 minutes.
  • Cosce has won 71% of his fights via KO, while both of Palatnikov’s losses have been by KO as well.
  • Palatnikov will have the height and reach advantage.
  • Palatnikov lost his debut, then two fights ago, against Mounir Lazzez, who looked tremendous against Abdul Razak Alhassan.
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Be sure to check out DraftKings Sportsbook options as well, on top of the daily fantasy tournaments available for Saturday. The sportsbook has lines up and available for fight lines, method of victory, and round betting!

See all of the moneylines at DraftKings Sportsbook!

UFC 255 DFS Plays & Strategies

  • Choose active fighters. Coupling an active fighter on his/her way to a unanimous decision will give you key points for your team. Just like any other DFS traditional sport, you want the active, offensive player that scores. Key metrics here are SLpM and TD AVG/15min.
  • Play the heavyweights. The approximate overall finish rate in the UFC is 54%. Most weight divisions range from 40%-60%, while the heavyweights push a 75% finish rate. You will receive bonus points for finishes inside the distance.
  • Try always to include the main event or title fights. Five round fights mean more time to rack up points if you pick the right fighter. In some cases, even if you have the loser, the points can be more than a three-round winner.
  • Don’t get excited and rush a pick based on stats; consider sample size. Some fighters have limited fights compared to their opponents when looking at metrics. Stats could be exaggerated. Do your research. Watch for spots with debuting fighters as well. Always check the records of the opponents they faced on their way to the UFC. Always pull fight tape as well. You’d be surprised at what you will find.
  • Review methods of victory. I supply the finish rates within this article, and as you dive in, you can compare method of victory to method of loss for the matchups. For example, you can find matchups where Fighter A has a high % of submission victories matched up with Fighter B, with a high % of submission losses.

As mentioned in the tip sheet above, here’s my MMA DFS Heat Chart for UFC 255. As you can see, the chart is ranked based on fight finish odds. Fight finishes are where the points are in MMA DFS. Take a glance at the stack, and we will break down the individual matchups below.

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Two key offensive metrics are strikes and takedowns. They get off on their opponents; watch your points rack up quickly. Here's my Offensive Output Meter for the card. With this chart, you can compare historical fighter averages in these two key metrics as I rank all fighters participating Saturday.

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When looking at Draftkings scoring, it's critical to be on the right side of as many first-round finishes within your team as possible. Here’s the implied probability on who to fade!

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UFC 255 DFS Recommendations

  • Fighters that typically press the action, land takedowns, and/or high finish rates matched up against those that get finished, roster. (see my charts above)
  • Fights projected to NOT go to a decision
    • Buckley/Wright -515
    • Cosce/Palatnikov -425
    • Figueiredo/Perez -350
    • Shevchenko/Maia -235
    • Perry/Means -155
    • Jouban/Gooden -150
    • Rodriguez/Dalby -135
    • Craig/Rua -125
    • Daukaus/Stoltzfus -120
    • Royval/Moreno -105

Good luck, everyone, and I hope to see some of you cashing after Saturday night! Thanks for all the amazing comments, and I appreciate the follows. If you haven’t done so already, jump on Twitter and find me at @Y2CASEY. Stay cashin’.

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